Monday, October 23, 2006

Still Crazy After All These Years

First. It's been a while since my last post. I've been through one of those ultra-hectic times. Between work and home, I just haven't had much time to squeeze in a blog post. And I had promised to post an entry every day. Ha!

Second. The family and I spent Saturday stomping around Chicago. We had been trying to get tickets to the King Tut exhibit at the Field Museum, but no luck. A great time was had by all. We walked and walked and walked and walked some more. So much to see. After a quick snack at the museum, it was off to Michigan Avenue. Let the shopping begin! Then it was dinner at Gino's East (great pizza). Then a quick stop at the Hershey's chocolate store. And, finally, a return trip to Crate and Barrel for some really cool Christmas decorations. Then it was off for home. Or more like, "stuck in traffic". With Barry Manilow (remember him) in town and the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, it was bumper to bumper for a long time. But that's all part of the big-city experience.

Third. Yesterday was my birthday. Yep. I'm a whopping 45 years old. Don't feel any older than I did last year, or the year before. Which is a good thing. A very good thing. Still crazy, after all these years.

Have a good Monday!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunday's Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

A beautiful afternoon for picking out the perfect pumpkin.

And, yes, the little redhead (see that beautiful red hair at the bottom of the photo?) belongs to me. I'm very cautious about putting family photos on the internet, so that may be all you get to see. I've heard too many stories.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Last Night's Drive Home

Autumn skies that looked more like wintry, snow clouds.


Coming down the home stretch.
A river runs through it.

Two huge oak trees next to the building I work in.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sunday Drive to the Lake

Just a Pine Tree and Blue Sky

I'm not sure why I took this photo. It's a simple pine tree that stands behind our place at the lake. Our weekend getaway spot during the summer.

Sometimes there's beauty in the simplest of things: blue sky, green tree, wispy white clouds.

Life gets complicated most days. I just need to remember: blue sky, green tree, wispy white clouds.

Ok. I'm all better now.

The Tree Tunnel
Yep, here's one I took while driving down the road (on the way to lake). Ok, I know: shame on me. But how else do you get this great shot?

Anyhow...this is the entrance to the tree tunnel. Named as such because during the summer the trees are so full that they actually create a darkened tunnel that we drive through on our way to and from the lake.

It has been tradition for us to take a deep breath as we enter the tunnel and sing a long, steady "aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh" all the way to the end. Silly, I agree. But tradition is tradition. And we love it. We've been doing it for years. And I'm guessing we'll be doing it for many more. Isn't that what traditions are all about?

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Greek Coin Project

Ah yes, the old Greek Coin Project. A good reason to be crafty.

My oldest son chose to make some larger-than-life-size replicas of Greek coins for his class project. A little bit of clay, some internet research (thank goodness for the internet), a few toothpicks, a warm oven, some craft paint and a good dose of Mom's help, and voila: coins.

The small coin-like object laying right next to the silver coin on the left is actually a little something I baked up. I rolled up a small amount of clay, flattened it into a disc and then used a rubber stamp and a toothpick to create a seashell ornament. I'm thinking of looping some ribbon through the hole and making a book mark. Or ... who knows what? I made several and should take a better picture so you can see the detail. They only took a few minutes and they turned out very nice.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

An Autumn Welcome ...

Walk in our front door and this is what greets you. When we were looking at houses to buy (a few years back), the foyer in this one was something we really liked. This is just a small piece of it, but I wanted to share it with you. My wife did an excellent job of decorating the table for the Fall season. She has such an eye for detail. (Love ya honey!)

And yes, I made the table runner. Pumpkins, scarecrows and other Autumn delights.

Welcome to another week. I hope it's a good one for you and your's. :-)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Crafty Dad Conquers Two Pointy Sticks and Some String!

What a difference a day makes. Old yarn. New needles -- I gotta’ new attitude. I finally got the hang of it. I actually formed knit stitches. Can I get a “Woot Woot”? (Or a “Gee dummy, it’s about time!?”)

Yarn tension and proper form is another story. But I have great confidence that I’ll conquer those battles very soon. The weekend is approaching and hopefully I’ll have some quality time to work out the kinks.

In other news: I received two packages yesterday (from eBay purchases). I am the proud owner of eighteen more crochet hooks (many in original blister packs) and twenty-some knitting needles (metal, plastic and circular). They are all in VERY good condition. Woo Hoo…..Crafty Dad strikes again.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

More Rambling Thoughts

I made a quick trip to Michael’s last night and bought a pair of bamboo needles (Size 10). I only had a few minutes of practice, but I think they are going to make a world of difference. I’m still messing with acrylic yarn, but I really feel like I’ll make some progress with the smaller, wooden needles. Maybe it’s all in my head, but…whatever it takes!

This blog needs some photographs, no? So…I promise to get in gear and start uploading some. I need to take some photos of the Greek coins my wife and son made this past weekend. And I slso want to show you the shell doo-dads I made for bookmarks, etc. I’m hoping to get that done tonight.

During a recent trip to the cedar closet, I noticed tons of ‘raw materials’ that are just waiting to become Christmas gifts. Some of the items have been tucked away for a long, long time. So long that I had forgotten many of them. With the Holiday season rapidly approaching, I need to get off my duff and start doing something. Do you notice that theme throughout my ramblings? Never mind.

Smile – tomorrow is Friday. Yee Haa!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Knitting Update -- Frustration Has Set In


Well, this knitting ‘thing’ is NOT going as planned. I’m an intelligent guy. I catch on to things very quickly. So when I got the hair-brained idea to learn how to knit, I figured it would go very smoothly. Ha! Wrong-o!

I’ve read books, viewed on-line videos from (lots of times), viewed two DVDs from the library and I still don’t have it down. Good Lord! Can it be that difficult? [By the way, is a FANTASTIC site. Very well done.]

Dave from Dave Daniels Cabin Cove has given me lots of advice. (Thanks Dave!) I think I need needles that are a bit smaller than the 10-1/2s I’m using. And….I need to use some better (wool) yarn. I had tried acrylic (yuck) to start with. That stuff just became “fuzz” after a few lame attempts at stitching and un-stitching. So then I tried cotton. No better. It also appears that I have a lot to learn about yarn tension. The cotton started to un-ravel in no time, which did not help matters either. So…it’s back to the craft store for some wool. I saw some nice Patton Merino Wool at Michael’s this past weekend. Perhaps a trip back there is in order. I swear I’m going to learn how to do this and do it correctly…and do it well!

Nothing else crafty from this blogger. Unless you count the Cub Scout badges I sewed on my son’s shirt last night. We used Badge Magic™ and that works for a while. But there’s nothing like a good sewing machine stitch to keep those babies in place. Trust me: they ain’t going anywhere!

That’s all for now. ::heavy sigh::

P.S. Oh! Wait! I DID do something crafty over the weekend. I made clay "buttons" to use as bookmark doo-dads. They will make nice little 'fill-in' gift items for Christmastime. I'll post a pic when I get off my butt and take a pic. ;-)